Cardiff-based indie outfit Boy Azooga is the multifarious musical brainchild of Davey Newington, a young man with a rich musical heritage. Born and raised in Wales to parents who both played and met in the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Davey enjoyed orchestral engagement as a teenager, playing in various orchestra’s and jazz ensembles. He took up the drums at the age of six, later establishing himself as the rhythmic pulse for Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon. Armed with “mammoth riffs” and “effortlessly intelligent songs” and signed to Heavenly Recordings, Davey now returns as Boy Azooga.
Boy Azooga released their critically acclaimed debut album 1, 2, Kung Fu in 2018. “The album is not all one thing for sure,” says Davey. “The whole point of Boy Azooga is to be a celebration of loads of different types of music. I wanted the album to be more like a mixtape or something. We wanted to include loads of contrasting styles.” By way of illustration, the track ‘Face Behind Her Cigarette’ both hints at Hot Butter’s 1972 synth-pop smash ‘Popcorn’, and draws inspiration from the late Nigerian funk overlord William Onyeabor. The instrumental ‘Breakfast Epiphany II’ is a response to The Beach Boys’ ‘Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)’, and the closing track ‘Sitting On The First Rock From The Sun’ is a piece of poised 1960s-flavoured classicism.
Davey’s vocals and arrangements carry the tunefulness of The Super Furry Animals, but the palette extends far beyond singer-songwriterly poignancy. Davey recruited friends Daf Davies, Dylan Morgan and Sam Barnes to form the Boy Azooga quartet, an ensemble that swings smoothly from filmic instrumentals to a churning, rave-tinged rock that hints at both Can and the Happy Mondays.
1, 2, Kung Fu has received support and radio play from both BBC Radio 1 and 6 Music, with the band performing live sessions for both Huw Stephens and Mary Anne Hobbs. Boy Azooga made their TV debut on Later with Jools Holland in May 2018, and have since toured the album throughout Europe, and performed at End of the Road Festival. October ’18 saw Boy Azooga win the prestigious Welsh Music Prize, beating fellow nominees Manic Street Preachers, Gruff Rhys and Gwenno.
'Bright, exciting and full of effortlessly intelligent songwriting, ‘1, 2, Kung Fu!’ is an absolute joy to listen to. Wickedly fun, and made to be played on festival stages this summer, it’s short glimpse into the musical landscape of Newington’s mind – and one that we’re pretty bloody glad he shared’
NME (Hannah Mylrea), June 2018
“There’s a moment during ‘Jerry’, which comes on like a much less needy Mac DeMarco, where Davey Newington ponders “why does the song have to end, why can’t I ever comprehend?” It’s a fitting proposition for a record that spirits the listener along at quite a pace, its already relatively concise thirty-five minutes stirring a melodic whirlwind”.
CLASH Magazine (Gareth James), June 2018
“This is an album brimming with sheer alt-pop joy, one that wouldn’t be out of place soundtracking the next big coming-of-age film”.
Loud and Quiet (Tom Walters), October 2018
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